What is She Wearing? The Musketeers Edition

I’ve quite taken to the BBC program The Musketeers, based on The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.  I particularly appreciate:

  • Dropping the “three” from the title, since it’s really about a group of four.  One’s just a Musketeer sidekick.
  • The musketeers actually have muskets, which you never see in screen adaptations.  I get they aren’t as sexy as swords, but, seriously, musketeer.
  • I get to see a season of Peter Capaldi before he joins Doctor Who in August.

So far, I’ve left the costumes in peace.  They haven’t left me screaming and running for the hills, unlike Reign.

But this week saw the introduction of Marie di’Medici, mother of the king, Louis XIII.

Historical Marie di'Medici
This is the historical Marie di’Medici c.1605.  Her son, Louis XIII, came to the throne as a minor, and Marie ruled as regent.  By all accounts, she wasn’t very good at it, and the adult Louis eventually banished her.
Marie di'Medici, The Musketeers
This is Tara Fitzgerald playing Marie di’Medici impersonating Ming the Merciless. (c) BBC

Granted, women were wearing some ridiculous collars at the time (although they were of lace), as is evident in the previous picture.  And piling her hair on top of her head is vaguely like the hair in the historical picture. But…flared shoulders?  Choker?  Chainmail?!?!

And this wasn’t even the outfit that left me dashing toward the internet.

Marie di'Medici, The Musketeers
This is the image that left me dashing for the internet. S&M Marie? Princess Leia wanna-be? The possibilities are endless.  (c) BBC

You know what would make those straps even more ridiculous?  If you made them out of metal, which they are.  The corset looks like she bought it off the internet (although you can’t see it here), meaning the off-the-shoulder sleeves are the least problematic part of this outfit.

And what’s up with the hair?  Was she trying for this?

Lady wearing a two-pointed hennin, 15th century.
This is a HAT.  It’s called a hennin and it went out of fashion a century before Marie became queen.  And it’s a hat.  It’s. A. Hat.
Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, The Musketeers
Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, The Musketeers (c) BBC

The show, in general, is not a fashion train wreck.  Like the Tudors, it takes liberties with historical fashion to make it more appealing to the audience.  For example, the king and queen are here on the right.

Now, granted, the 17th century is not my area (and I really don’t like its fashion), so maybe I’m a little more forgiving concerning authenticity. I’m a little surprised the BBC is taking such liberties, as it’s known for really accurate historical biopics, but this isn’t a biopic, and maybe that’s where the line is drawn.

But they have the basics down.  Right age, right hair.  Nearly every image you see of Louis includes that wide, turned down collar.  Anne’s frilly thing is at least appropriately lacy, unlike poor Marie’s.


Above: Historical Louis XIII and Anne of Austria. While Louis normally sports a mustache like the one shown here, early portraits are sans mustache, like the version in the Musketeers.

And then…there’s Cardinal Richelieu.  Overall, I like his depiction as far as writing.  The Three Musketeers depicts him as a great villain holding sway over an inept king.  The Musketeers keeps Louis XIII fairly inept (which he wasn’t), and they’ve kept Richelieu as a political mastermind (which he was), but the interactions between the two are more complex.  It’s a nice middle ground between the source material and history.

But then there’s this:

Above: Historical Cardinal Richelieu and Peter Capaldi as Richelieu (c) BBC

Granted, they’ve got the mustache and beard right (when I first saw the trailers I immediately knew which character he was), but the real Cardinal Richelieu is always depicted in the red robes of a cardinal. The Musketeers’ Richelieu commonly dresses in all black.  Here he has a robe with dark red lining, which isn’t part of the normal get-up, but I used the pic because of the absolute malevolence being communicated.

Seriously, how does anyone in the show not realize that Richelieu is the big bad baddie in an outfit like that?

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